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Mining contractor ordered to pay public holiday entitlements to workers

Wilson Mining
Wilson Mining

A mining services contractor will have to reimburse workers for two years of public holiday entitlements according to an industry body.

The Fair Work Commission recently ordered Wilson Mining to back pay all mine workers who were partially not remunerated because they had a rostered day off that happened to fall on a public holiday.

‘Non-work days’ do not exist

The commission also ruled that a rostered day off is different to a non-working day in the coal mining sector. Since there is a continuous 24-hour roster there are no non-working days, and every day is covered by a roster with some workers rostered on and others rostered off.

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) used the decision to back its argument that mine workers are eligible for public holiday loading even though they are not at work.

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EBA guaranteed entitlements

The company allegedly stopped paying the entitlements in 2017 despite its own enterprise bargaining agreement guaranteeing mine workers, who are rostered off on a public holiday, will still receive an additional eight hours of ordinary time pay plus an average bonus according to CFMMEU.

“[Coal miners] have little if any choice about when they will take a rostered day off and those days are allocated in advance throughout the roster,” Commission deputy president Asbury said in a public statement.

“Provisions of coal industry awards (and other awards) which entitle employees to be paid for public holidays falling on rostered days off are not new, and are directed to addressing the position of employees who do not work on a public holiday by virtue of the rotation or cycles of the roster under which they are required to work.”

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